Review: Will Guthrie – Some Nasty (Hasana Editions, Apr 11)

On 2017’s People Pleaser, abstract percussionist and improviser Will Guthrie combined the intricate drum patterns of releases like Sticks, Stones and Breaking Bones with the irreverent electroacoustics of experiments such as Spear to create a unique hybrid of styles, a colorful and unpredictable collage of clashing sounds that easily became one of my favorite albums not just that year, but ever. After some forays into collective improvisation on 2017’s Cheval Rétréci with the titular duo and Junko Hiroshige and last year’s spectacular Mosquitoes and Crabs with Hong Chulki, as well as the Dream Spink cassette that delved back into his pure-percussion roots, Guthrie re-examines his arsenal of tactile clangs, fractured electronics, and other instruments on Some Nasty. While this tape is still a mishmash of a wide variety of elements, its combinations are much less schizophrenic than on People Pleaser, instead adopting a more meditative ambience that presides over the clatter. This is especially apparent on the B side, where some particularly hypnotic sounds similar to that of steel drum frame Guthrie’s steadily accelerating drum attacks, into which fleeting bits of distorted feedback are also woven. I’d love to know what exactly his recording process is, because there’s no way he’s playing all of these things at the same time, but it sure as hell sounds like he is. Despite the newfound reticence of Some Nasty, it fortunately doesn’t abandon the entertaining surrealism that made People Pleaser so great; especially on side A, with its ambling rhythmic interplay and bizarre voice samples, the fun is still here.

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